Market Watch: Hot-Selling Ford V-6s and Free Ram Hemi V-8s


By Mark Williams

It's no secret that truck buyers can be stingy with their hard-earned cash; they want to see solid value for every dollar they spend. It's also no secret that Ford took a huge risk about five years ago when it decided to make a huge investment in its V-6 truck engine strategy.

Long before the economy went south, U.S. auto dealers knew a crisis was looming, and long before bank credit was squeezed to a trickle, Ford rolled the dice and transformed the all-V-8 lineup in its full-size pickups into a roster with two V-6s and two V-8s.

We’ve already told you about Ford's 3.7-liter V-6 in our V-6 Shootout, so you know we like it. And we’ve also done extensive road testing of the 3.5-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V-6, so you know we have our issues with that one. But did you know that, for the first time in F-Series history, the V-6 offerings in the half-ton have been outselling the bigger V-8 options?

For four straight months this year — May through August — more than 50 percent of F-150s sold in the U.S. either had the 3.7-liter base engine or the 3.5-liter EcoBoost under the hood. What’s more, the EcoBoost V-6 carries a $750 premium over the base V-8, also a first for the segment. In Ford’s mind, the extra cost was needed to help defray development costs and was justified because the EcoBoost's power numbers (365 horsepower and 420 pounds-feet of torque) are better than the 5.0-liter V-8 by 5 hp and 40 pounds-feet. Still, no one else in the industry knew this was going to happen — certainly not GM, Chrysler or Toyota, who all are currently left scrambling in Ford’s wake.

But how are they responding? We’ve heard reports that GM will come out with its own "new technology" V-6 in time (or soon after) the debut of the new Chevy Silverado, due to go on sale as a 2013 model. Ram has been planning to put the new 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 (now in the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Jeep Wrangler) in its trucks for several years, but we haven’t heard anything about turbocharging it or mating it with the much-anticipated eight-speed transmissions that Chrysler and Dodge are putting in their high-horsepower cars.

So what's a truck maker to do? They can't let Ford hog all the attention.

First to take a swipe at Ford's advantage is Chrysler, allowing Ram Truck to offer a "No-Charge Hemi" program during all of September. Qualified buyers of a 2011 or 2012 Ram 1500, 2500 or 3500 can choose a 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 engine at no extra charge (if optional) or opt for $1,000 bonus cash (if it's the base engine) on models equipped with the smaller 3.7-liter V-6 gas, 4.7-liter V-8 gas or 6.7-liter Cummins turbo-diesel engines.


The 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 engine makes 390 horsepower and 407 pounds-feet of torque, and it gets 20 mpg on the highway.

Chrysler also announced it is offering qualified consumers zero-percent financing for up to 72 months on all 2011 models (excluding the Grand Cherokee) in September.

We expect to see more of this kind of aggressive sales competition, especially in this segment. So if you’re in the market for a new half-ton truck, your timing could not be better. More financing details are below.

2012 Ram Trucks

  • Qualified consumers purchasing a 2011 or 2012 model year Ram pickup truck can choose a 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine at no extra charge or opt for $1,000 in Engine Bonus Cash on models equipped with 3.7-liter V-6, 4.7-liter V-8 or Cummins diesel engines.
  • Qualified consumers who purchase a 2012 Ram pickup truck may be eligible for 3.9 percent financing for 60 months or $500 in Customer Cash

2011 Ram Trucks

  • Qualified consumers who purchase a 2011 Ram 1500 pickup truck may be eligible for financing as low as zero percent for 60 months or up to $3,250 in Customer Cash
  • Qualified consumers who purchase a 2011 Ram Heavy-Duty pickup truck may be eligible for financing as low as zero percent for 60 months or up to $2,500 in Customer Cash for trucks equipped with a diesel engine


Ford and Ram putting the smack down on the competition!

Go Ford and Ram!!!

I love my V8's...I personally took deleivery on my 2011 F-150 FX4 Supercab in June I chose the 5.0L V8 over the Ecoboost. But I was sure to be fair...Since the 5.0L and Ecoboost are the only two engines currently offered in the FX4 model, I was sure to test drive both before making a finale judgement. But I did go in with my heart set on the 5.0L.

The Ecoboost was great, and in all fairness had slightly more power than the 5.0L...But the 5.0L far surpassed my wants/needs for power and sounded 100x better than the Ecoboost, The icing on the cake was that it was 750$ cheaper.

So far I have been nothing but 100% totally satisfied with the 5.0L...It actually gets resonable mileage and has tons of power.

Despite my personal preferance's I'm glad to see that Fords doing so well in general. Both with V6's and V8's.


Congratulaions on your new Ford! The U.S.A. economy appreciates it. Enjoy!

@Buy American Or Say Bye To America

Thanks! All i've ever owned is Fords and I have never been let down by one. This new 2011 is my first brand new and 3rd overall. My Grandpa was a Ford guy threw and threw and I watched him work many of his old and new Fords harder than any truck should ever be worked but they all held up good and never let us down! I've got total faith in their quality threw personal experience. I plan on keeping this truck loooonnnnggg into 6 digit odometer figures...Who know's...With the proper care I might push for the coveted 7 digit odometer figure! I'll be enjoying this truck for many years to come.

Fact is, all of the big 3 are really producing some great trucks today. Dodge has made astronomical improvments in quailty over the past 10 years. GM's trucks may be a little dated today but I'm sure they are still good trucks.

The $750 premium is not entirely true because the ecoBoost engine cannot ordered for XL trim trucks, only XLT and above. So, in reality it costs more.

I'd like to see how Toyota and GM respond to Ram's aggressive incentives--Ram is gaining market already. GM trucks are seriously dated and Toyota is still recovering from the awful natural disasters earlier this year.

Anyhoot, I agree, it's a great time to buy! :)

I will be interesting to see what the V6's look like for Ram and GM once they are under the hood.

I think even then there will be a bit of a catch up as by then I bet ford will have bumped up the power a bit.

It is cheaper for Chrysler to build the HEMI than the 4.7 a good gimmick free Hemi !! Worked for me,but I upped the model to a Laramie QuadCab Hemi and love it !!!

@ Nate.M,
I agree with you the eco-boost's sound real bad,there is nothing like a V-8 sound !!

@ Nate M

Congrats on your purchase. You're obviously a Ford man, but it's very refreshing to have someone who can compliment Ram and GM while preferring a Ford truck; especially on this website. Enjoy your 5.0 F150!

@ LJC - Not true, the ecoboost engine is an option on the XL trim. Order code 502A 99T/446

I'm ordering a loaded 2012 Ecoboost F150 Heavy Duty SuperCrew Lariat 4X4. GVWR of 8200lbs! 2100lbs of payload. That's in the 3/4 ton range. The only down side is that I can only select 7 lug 17" wheels.

@ Nate,

What kind of gas mileage are you getting with the 5.0?
City/Highway/Overall Combined.

@Dave w/ a Colorado (and everyone who is interested)

I purchased a 2011 F-150 XLT 5.0L this year just like the other dave. Mine is a crew cab, 6.5' box, 3.73 limited slip. my drive to work is short periods (3-4 min max) of 55 cruising with stoplights dotting the way, probably 7 of them but only get about 4 red lights per morning and afternoon. On that route i'm getting 15-16 depending on if traffic gets exceptionally bad or not. i'd say this kinda represents a combined, but the stops definitely put a hurting on it. if you are on the 'city' side of a combined driving style, you'd get 15 or less. if you're on the highway side of a combined driving style, expect 16. on a 2 hour highway loop i ended up getting a solid 18 mpg (truck was still newish). hope i didn't blab too much but i can say that i'm honestly really happy so far with the 5.0L. also did light towing (3000 lbs) and managed to get 14 mpg, so not bad at all really.

The thing I don't get is, when these trucks are driven in real world situations, the fuel milage isn't a whole lot better than whats already there.
My son drives a 2004 HEMI 1500 quad cab, it gets 14MPG in stop & go traffic & 18 on the hiway.
His buddy's Eco-Boost equals it, no better, no worse.
I don't see enough of a difference to make me change my mind for the V-6 engines. I just don't get it.

I have longed to put a Ford pickup (Super Duty) for more years than I can count on two hands and two feet. Dodge had to snooker me, back in 2005, when they introduced the Ram 2500 Power Wagon. So over to Dodge I went.

I hope that Ford is still making the F-150 S.V.T. Raptor in 2013/2014. That is when I should be ready to add one to my collection.


The bigger difference will come when it is time to tow anything over 4,000 pounds.

The 2004 Ram HEMI Magnum, with it's crappy transmission gearing, has 345 horsepower at a nerve racking 5,400 r.p.m. and 375 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,200(?) r.p.m.

The 2011 F-150 EcoBoost, with a better transmission gearing, has 365 h.p. at a much lower r.p.m. (than the HEMI) and an incredible 420 lb-ft. tq., again much lower than the HEMI. It is like having your cake, and your friend's piece, and eating them both.

1. Price for EcoBoost is currently running $1250 over 5.0L and ist still selling out. Ecoboost is $750, and 5.0L's are getting a $500 bonus cash rebate (at least in Midwest, rebates vary by residency), and Ecoboost is still killing our 5.0L sales.

2. EcoBoost fuel economy with a a heavy foot is only slightly better than 5.0L, towing varies by trailer, most are seeing a noticable improvement that I feel is mostly from the Ecoboost not having to kick down at every hill like the V8's do (5.4 or 5.0). Towing customers really like the way the EB "lugs".

Now for the other fuel economy. If driven at reasonable speeds and with a normal foot, 20 MPG mixed is completely in the realm of EcoBoost. Link above shows a picture of one we had in last week for an oil change, he's averaged 19.8 over the last 1200 miles. Based on the timer, that averages to 37 MPH, so you can say this is mixed driving, not highway, and his current tank was running 20.6 MPG. He said on a highway trip he can get 23 (55-60mph, said it drops alot at 75 MPH on interstate). This is a 3.55 geared SuperCrew 4x4.

I really don't see the big deal with the EB. I have read a lot of posts online at various F-150 sites that state that the EB gets great mileage at 55-60 mph, but that economy is in the 18-19 mpg range at 70-80 mph. Who drives at 55-60 on the interstate? I easily get 19mpg at 75 with my 5.7 Tundra with 15mpg in town, and thus cannot justify buying a new truck for these modest, if any, mpg increases. Plus, I like the big V-8 sound of my truck (I guess that's just the red-blooded American male in me). That said, show me a high torque, small displacement turbo-diesel getting 30mpg and I'll trade in today.

@Brian does your tundra have the 4.3 diff? my buddy would kill to get your mileage (he has the 2008 tundra 5.7L with 4.3). but i definitely agree, i would kill for a REASONABLY PRICED small displacement turbo oil burner with good power (375-400 lb-ft) and great mileage (20+ combined, all the time).

@Zach: Yes, I have the 4.30 gears. I am light-footed and rarely ever have the RPMs above 2500 in daily driving. Most shifts occur between 1700 and 2100 revs. Mine is a 2010 CMax 2WD.

@Zach: I also run full synthetic 5W-20. Not sure if it helps mileage or not as I have run this since the truck was new.

@Brian my buddy's truck is 4WD but maybe it's due to his foot.

I don't about not being able to get a Ford XL with the Ecoboost, my next door neighbor has one. It's a SuperCab, XL, and it has the Ecoboost engine. I thought it was weird because I had heard that too, but his truck is completely stripped down, with steel wheels, black grille, etc. but it has the license plate over on the side like Ecoboosts, and I can read the Ecoboost badge on the door. I'm not a Ford fan so I don't know much about them, but I'm 99% sure he has a base model truck (XL?) with an Ecoboost.

@Zach: I also run full synthetic 5W-20. Not sure if it helps mileage or not as I have run this since the truck was new. @ Brian

when i changed my truck over to the 5w20 i seen a 1 MPG so i feel it helps

@ Dan the Man,

You will not believe what I am about to say! I recently went from Castrol Full Synthetic 5w20 to Mobil 1 5w20 on my 4.6L 4V Cobra. I am noticing a 2mpg improvement, not to mention improved performance. I am going to stay with Mobile 1. My V10 get's the Castrol Snytec Blend.

My last 2 tanks of gas averaged 16 mpg. That is based on actual math as opposed to the mpg display which is usually optomistic by 10 - 20 %. My last tank was all city with speeds 20 - 50 mph. The previous tank was mixed city, highway, and gravel roads. Speeds 10 - 65 mph.
My best is 16 city and 20.4 highway with a light foot and the truck with a small load.
That was with a 2010 5.4, SuperCrew, 6.5 box, 4x4, 3.55 gears, and 18 inch wheels.
I try to stay in the 1,100 - 1,800 rpm range, as that gives me my best mpg. My truck will shift down on big hills at speeds less than 60 - 65 mph. I can improve mpg by allowing for some loss of speed and preventing downshifts. If I drive like most people - I'm lucky to match USA EPA figures.
Other than outright towing power, I'm not seeing a huge advantage to the new engines. I do suspect that if I drove and EB like I drive my current truck, I could easily excede the EPA guesstimates.

@ Frank
i guess each situation is different, never was a big fan of Castrol oil but mobil 1 is good, i use Conklin Convoy 5w20 it is a para-synthetic and had really good luck with it does not break down

yes but the market still the same....they dont have a issue whit the turbo...

@ Chris
The EcoBoost is available in the XL, but you have to have the 8' box and the 3.73 rear end, and the Max Tow package is automatically included. You can get it either 4WD or 2WD, regular cab or SuperCab, but no SuperCrew.

Ecoboost V6 has knocked out V8. Infact Ford is going to apply V3 Ecoboost with 1 liter engine in Focus and C-Max & B-Max in Europe.

End of V8 first followed by V6 later.

I keep looking for EB's on the road and I've yet to see one. Ford must be selling a lot of the 3.7L.

The Ram hemi would be a good deal.

@Dave with a Colorado.

I've been getting between 15 and 17mpg around town, and I've had it as high as 22.5 on the highway, but for the record I drive it with a pretty light foot. Combined I seem to avarage around 18mpg. Not bad for a big 4X4 1/2 on truck IMO.

@Max Reid
I would be so sure that the V8 and V6 are going to die out yet...Though Ford is showing amazing success with the 3.5L Ecoboost in the F-150...The 2.0L Ecoboost has been somwhat of a disapointment in the Explorer according to the critics. Only time will tell what engines survive and which one's dont.


I really like the new EcoBoost Engine in theory...and performance......BUT...... I LOVE the sound of my HEMI V8! I also LOVE the sound of TURBO's! The towing test that have been completed with the HEMI against the EB show the down low TQ the EB has and the better Transmission/Gearing. This was a Floor it test up Eisenhower Pass I think and the HEMI was right behind the EB. This was a 1500 Test and I'm a 2500 kinda guy. The new HD-6spd Automatic that RAM has in the 2500 HEMI Powered Trucks is awesome! Shifts are timely and smooth and it's a constant flat band of Power with it behind the HEMI. I cannot wait to see a test of the 2500 gassers!
* The EB when loaded down or towing heavy gets 6-7 MPG! Add to that a small gas tank and you got some mad owners over on the FORD boards.
**I love all AMERICAN Brands and want to see all of them profit. Competetion is was makes each brand better every 2 years with updates and every 4-5 years with newer goodies!


I have seen about four F-150s, on the road, with the 3.5L V6 EcoBoost. The local Ford dealership has two on the lot right now. They had two different ones on the lot a month or two ago.

Ford- Brought to you courtesy, of the Red, White, and Blue!

@Brian, I agree with you when it comes down to why so many people think the new Ecoboost engines seem to be so great when the gas mileage really isn't as hyped up as it's advertised to be. I mean, if a Chevy Silverado Z71 with the outdated 5.3L is equipped with the correct gear ratio, it can get the same or maybe even better mileage than the Ecoboost.


The 5.3L will never tow the same weight, with the same ease, as the 3.5L V6 EcoBoost.

Yep, the EB gets big block V8 fuel economy when worked.

Ford says it could get a bit more fuel efficiency, power, and torque with the Bobcat methanol injection. But it's unclear if it only applies when the engine isn't being taxed with a load. Ford 's has been pretty underhanded with that information even with the Ecoboost. I'd bet the Bobcat design would be even more thirsty than the current EB.

The Hemi was closing down on the EB during that hill climb towing test. I recall the 0-60mph time had the EB winning with an over 30 secs margin while the 1/4 mile was a bit over 1 sec.

@Buy American Or Say Bye To America, I never mentioned nor am I worried about how much more the EB can tow than the outdated 5.3L.


I'm pulling 21 combined with my 5 cyl Colorado '11 Z71 Crew Cab and was just wondering how the big trucks were holding up.
Thanks, ya actually made me feel better.

@Steven- If FE is the only thing you are concerning yourself with and dont care about towing or hauling, why bother with a truck at all? Saying the 5.3, when geared right, can get the same mpg as the Ecoboost at the expense of towing/hauling, doesnt mean much. Put a 460 in a 2wd, single cab Ford along with the 6 spd and a 3.08 rear and only drive it on the highway and it would see 20 mpg too but what is the point if it wont still tow or haul?

@Ken- "The Hemi was closing down on the EB during that hill climb towing test. I recall the 0-60mph time had the EB winning with an over 30 secs margin while the 1/4 mile was a bit over 1 sec." Seems to suggest Dodge sets their trucks up for high rpm racing rather than low rpm grunt, ya know, what trucks actually need.

Top Gear US did a great comparo of these 2 trucks w/ these new engines and the Ford definitely showed that it was best-of-breed. It also looks great - from afar, no one can tell the V-6 from the V-8, so prestige is not damaged that much. The F-150 is one of those trucks that is really luxuriously appointed in a very humble, down-to-earth way.

The ecoboost is for the talented thinking man. When you carefully weed through these posts and on other forums you see what is going on...this guy he has a 2 wd with high rear end, this guy doesn't know how to tow and doesn't realize if you do the eco can get 12 - 14 towing a heck of a load...(I do it all the time)...this guy likes crap for mileage so he can drive around sounding like a 60s muscle car. So if you want the option to have it all pending how you feel that day the only way to go is with the eco. period. And if instead an extremely quiet refined truck you want headers and 60s sound....well just cut a CD and play it over and over:)


I was just pointing out that the main criteria for owning a pickup truck, should be anyway, is for it's hauling/towing/working capability. That is where the phenomenal horsepower and torque, of the 3.5L V6 EcoBoost, comes in.

If for some reason someone buys a pickup truck with fuel economy as the most important criteria, just plain silly, then the EcoBoost can shine here as well.

Ford 3.5L V6 EcoBoost: Big block V8 torque! Better than big block V8 horsepower! Fuel economy of a large V6 or small V8. Who can argue with that? Ford has given the consumer the best of both worlds!!!

Didn't realize my link didn't post above, but try to find a 5.3L 4x4 Crew cab thats getting simmilar mileage vs speed.

Again, anyone who thinks the 5.3L will beat or even match the Ecoboost in economy needs to find someone who's owned both. I've traded in many 5.3L's, and after the Eco Breaks in they're getting much better fuel economy than the 5.3L did (DOD and 3.08 gas mileage gearing work great for EPA Testing, but real world don't helpe fuel economy).

im still driving my 03 laramie hemi 4x4 quad with 389000k on the old girl....getting avg. 15 mpg......i am dying to buy a new truck with gas here at 130 a litre(about 5 buck a gallon) doesnt make sence to buy a v-6 that MIGHT get an extra 2-4 mpg you gotta drive along way to make up the money and depreciation......jesus dodge give me a 1500 deisel that i can get a real world 25 mpg and burn the cheaper deisel fuel....i got the 50k waiting for ya dodge!!

ive said it b4 n ill say it again. the ram catching up to the ec f150 is bcuz turbo motors weaken in long under load duration tests. had the route been longer the ram would have over taken the ec f150. the ec f150 is great for short under load runs where the low end torque of an turbo change motor shines.

Yep, likely the intercooler was heat soaked. No doubt the EB does well as an enthusiast engine but work it hard and it gets thirsty and the intercooler gets heat soaked.

New truck and new engine, but GM still has market share over Ford. No matter what the competition comes up with GM still sells more pickups then Ford.

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